Philippines’ most popular way to travel is by taking the bus.
At the start of the month, my friends and I went out of town to enjoy the remaining days of summer. We hadn’t had time to go to the beach like most people do because our jobs does not permit us to do so, but hey, that’s not to say we should let the heat season pass without doing something out of the ordinary. So, to make up for everything we have not been able to do during the “vacation” season, we decided to go to the Philippines’ Summer Capital: Baguio City.
However, I will have to talk about our little adventure in the coldest place in this part of the world some other time. In this post, I will be talking about the things I learned when travelling, the whats and what-nots. Pay attention people, ‘coz these few basic tips might just save your lives!
1. Make early travel and accommodation reservations to avoid delays.
Always make travel plans. You’ll never know what “delays” could be lurking somewhere.
We had reserved our bus tickets the morning of our departure from the metro, and we decided to do the same for our tickets on our way back home. I was surprised that there are still a lot of people who doesn’t make early reservations, to the point that I think they don’t even plan their trips ahead. The queue for the “chance passengers” on our way home was so long, even at 2am in the morning. I just couldn’t imagine myself lining up that long for a possibility of a ride that might not even come. So, kids, plan ahead! It doesn’t hurt to be safe; you don’t lose anything and you don’t pay extra. The comfort of not having to think about anything on your way back home surpass the amount of extra time you have to spend in making these preparations, so you might as well do it.
2. Do not buy at the nearest gift shop from the terminal.
The best way to share your travel experiences is through gifts or “pasalubong.”
The biggest mistake that I have made in this trip is that I was so eager to get the stuff I came to Baguio for. I’ve always wanted to buy either a beanie or square scarf and I was looking forward to get to the market upon arrival to finally get my hands on one of these. However, upon arriving in Baguio, we passed by a gift shop at the bus station’s second floor, and they had these amazing scarves that I specifically wanted.
The price was okay on my terms, so, thinking it would save me some time from having to go around a probably busy market, I bought the scarf without further thought. Soon enough, I found out I could’ve bought three of those scarves for the amount I paid and, your guess is right, I was darn pissed off.
The only time I could suggest that you consider this is when you’re a few hours from leaving and you haven’t gotten the stuff you need to bring home for yourself or for someone else. Know, however, that you might have to spend a little more.
3. Be sure to have at least one camera with your group.
Grab that camera and snap, snap!
I know it’s all about the experience, but what is experience if you can’t relive them afterwards? One of our more likable qualities as human beings is our desire to document or record a vital piece of our time and age to be part of history. And as one human being to another, I am urging you to never forget your cameras when you go backpacking.
In this digital age, cameras are becoming smaller by the minute. Okay, probably not, but I say this ‘coz I find no other reason why you wouldn’t grab that camera by your table and pack it with rest of your stuff in your bag. And try to separate your phone from your camera. No phone camera can ever have decent settings and usability as that of a real camera. If you can bring a SLR camera, then do so, just make sure it has video capabilities as well. You’ll never know when a memorable experience is worth capturing on video than on photos.
I would most certainly not bring a SLR camera, however, because as a hobbyist myself, I tend to focus more on getting great shots than actually enjoying the experience with my friends. Unless of course of you came there specifically to get those shots. I just feel like I’m compelled to go on a “hobbyist” mode if I’m holding a SLR camera, but to each his own. (DeviantArt + Flickr)
4. Be prepared to try something new: food and adventure.
Streetfood is the best way to learn a place’s local cuisine.
The most appalling thing you can do when you travel is if you stick to your comfort stuff or to things that you always get or have on normal occasions. What are you doing eating McDonald’s when the place boasts of their local culinary trademarks that you won’t be able to experience elsewhere? Do not be afraid to try something new, even if it means having to go through a street food delicacy that everyone else seems to tell you that it’s a must-try! Exotic? I say that’s even better!
Just remember that all vacation and travel ends, so the best time to try these new stuff out is when you’re finally there in the place. Think of the stories you can share from these experiences to your friends, family or even your future kids. Count it as part of learning the place’s culture and what-nots, and there’s no better teacher than experience itself.
5. Understand that you might have to spend a little more than usual.
Charge it to experience.
This goes along with the previous item. Often than not, new stuff would cost more than the ordinary things you get everyday. There’s a popular saying that I can relate with this one, and it goes something like “charge it to experience.” Don’t mull over the amount you could be spending, so long as you’re going to experience something new. Liking it or enjoying it is out of the question too, because for all I know, you can use it to ward off friends who could be trying out the same thing. But that doesn’t mean you should be spending on stuff that you know for yourself that you wouldn’t enjoy, or adventures that are overly pricey. You should of course choose the things you will be spending on, because in the end, that’s still you’re hard-earned cash.
6. Enjoy your time, forget about work for a little while.
Give yourself a break! Relax and enjoy!
There’s nothing more irritating than hanging out with someone whose head is not into the fun you both should be enjoying at that very instant. If you go out with someone like this, hit him/her in the head hard so he/she can wake up. Kidding!
Look, I may not be able to speak for your friends, but I’ll say this anyway: I don’t care if you’re so involved in your work, but a time with your friends and/or family is becoming harder to get by in these busy times, so when you do get this chance, you should only have them to focus on. Remember, some people, if not everyone, hates having to beg or compete for attention. The worst part would be if it’s work that they’re up against.
Just remember that you’re not only doing it for them, but for yourself as well. Give yourself a break! One whole week after another of non-stop work and you’d end up convincing yourself that you should be living in your office by now. Stretch those muscles and do something more delightful with your time. You’ll never know if this could be your last before another half-a-year’s worth of back pains, courtesy of your work, nonetheless.
So there you have it! A list of sort to aid you on your trip before this season ends! I hope you have a great time with your friends or family, and remember to let me know how that goes out for you! Have a great summer-ender everyone! :)